January 1, 2004 Legislation


People's Republic of Massachusetts


California Medicaid Reduction and SB2.



New Jersey has a new proposed law that would add public members to the medical board.  These proposed laws would take the place of any meaningful tort reform.  The Democratic legislature also would require some investigation of physicians to be handled in 30 days, an impossible task if due process of the accused physician is taken into account.  The new legislation would take the medical board away from the Department of Consumer Affairs and place it under the Department of Health and Senior Services, which currently monitors hospitals and nursing homes.  Public Citizen, the organization that believes there is no such thing as a rehabilitated physician, states that New Jersey is far below where it should be in disciplining physicians.          Top

Peoples Republic of Massachusetts

Some People are attempting to get universal health care for all state residents.  They want a Constitutional change.  Signatures have been collected and after they are verified the matter will move to the legislature where only 25% need to approve before it moves to the next legislative session for a full vote.  The petition does not give any specific insurance program, only the guarantee of health coverage for all state residents.  I wonder how many of the people of the surrounding states will set up residences in the Peoples Republic.  This is a guarantee for bankruptcy.        Top


The Pennsyvancia legislature has realized the Governor lied to the physicians in his bid for the office.  They also realize that they are losing physicians to other states due their lack of meaningful tort reform.  They are now looking at ways to reduce the premiums but in the wrong avenues.  The legislature is run by the trial attorneys and will not consider anything that will interfere with their largesse.  They are now looking at the unrealistic goal of reducing the amount of insurance required to practice medicine in this tort happy state.  The bills would also spread the risk in the state fund so that high risk would pay less and low risk pay more and require insurers to base rates on individual records (something the state doesn't do).  This would put the physicians personal assets at risk for the high awards in the state.        Top

California Medicaid Reduction and SB2
Ct. Decisions

A judge stated that the proposed legislative 5% cut in pay to physicians caring for Medicaid patients is illegal and gave an injunction to the plaintiffs.  The judge stated that the proposed decrease would lessen the quality of care to below the needed amount due to loss of providers.  The ruling only was for fee for service providers.

Another judge has stated that the proposed referendum on the March Ballot to rid the state of it's law to force the pay or play rules on businesses.  This will mean that there must be a wait until the November election to rid the state of this harmful law.        Top


The following is a reprint from the December JCAHO Newsletter:

Reinstated Physician Engagement SIWG Meets
After a two-year hiatus, the Physician Engagement Strategic Issues Work Group met in October to resume exploring strategies and tactics for increasing physician engagement in the accreditation process. Led by Chair Isabel Hoverman, M.D., the nine-member group discussed what JCAHO can do either in its standards or policies to incent greater cooperation between hospital management and the medical staff and to improve communications among the members of the medical staff. Bill Jacott, JCAHO special advisor for professional relations, summarized lessons learned from his contact with physicians and physician groups during the last year and a half, including:
Physicians need to be educated about the accreditation process and tend to mistake JCAHO for a government regulator. (They are a deeming agent with their own rules and it is not required that they be used.)
Both hospital administrators and physicians look to JCAHO and its standards for support when conflicts arise.  (This is true.)
There is a high degree of interest in JCAHO's public policy initiatives, especially the topic of medical liability.
Physicians often do not associate accreditation with quality and patient safety. (This speaks volumes of the lack of the mission of the Joint.)

Do the topics tell you anything about how well the Joint has done in their mission?



DISCLAIMER: Although this article is updated periodically, it reflects the author's point of view at the time of publication. Nothing in this article constitutes legal advice. Readers should consult with their own legal counsel before acting on any of the information presented.